Beautiful and so delicious at the same time. Iceni is a sticky, resinous, balsamic, dark, woody, chewy tonka and spice perfume that conjures images of a cake consisting of layers of pain d'epice, gingerbread and panettoni, oozing with dark, viscous molasses between each layer and finally drizzled with white icing. It's as though Fille en Aiguilles, Arabie and Colors by Benetton got down and dirty in an unscrupulous ménage à trois. This smells like something that belongs in a Lutens bell jar, just--WOW.
Very holiday-esque, you really get the elemi/myrrh and pine needle scent, but the base is so sweet and cozy. Iceni successfully teeters the line between gourmand and incense perfume, never totally crossing the line too much in either direction, in a way I rarely encounter. I see this as a winter perfume, but it's so magnificent goodness knows it will be hard not to wear it all year long.
Sillage and longevity are huge. A+++ for yet another ridiculously incredible perfume by Boadicea the Victorious. Words can't express my admiration for this house.
This is a stunning perfume, definitely has the modern-vintage thing going on. The hazy aura that surrounds me is that of perfume still clinging to my skin after having been with my beloved all night. It smells like dense clouds of frankincense combined with rose-scented candle wax and oodles of rich musk. Salome is warm and romantic and surprisingly wearable. While it is very animalic, it does not smell like a barnyard animal the way Muscs Koublai Khan smells. The animalic note I detect is more along the lines of leather-tinged civet.
Again, very animalic, so I might be tempted to call it raunchy, dingy, dirty, skanky, naughty, or nasty, but I feel that the negative vibes those words convey are not appropriate words for a perfume of this caliber of artistry and dedicated passion. Salome is the afterglow, not the act. It's the guy who calls the next day, not the guy who sleeps with someone else the next day. It's the vulnerability of soft lips brushing against supple skin for the first time. It is salubrious and sanctified, not sinful and salacious.
Salome is a masterpiece, the perfect addition to an already phenomenal line of carefully constructed and unhurried releases. I already loved Liz Moores' other perfumes, particularly Anubis, but Salome has sealed the deal for me in feeling that she is one of the absolute best noses in niche perfumery today. I hear whispers of a new release on the way, and I hope it's true. I eagerly look forward to any new release from Papillon.
It took me at least six months of wearing Salome over and over again to really formulate my thoughts on it. A full bottle is probably necessary.
Gray is the new black.
Thirty is the new twenty.
And oud is the new patchouli.
Those of you who are new to perfumery are like, "What's oud??" And those of you who are longtime perfume worshipers might be rolling your eyes up just hearing the word: "Ughhhh, yup, oud!"
Although oud is a popular and common ingredient in Middle Eastern perfumery, it is native to Southeast Asia. It is really called agarwood, and "oud" is sort of like a nickname. I want to clarify, because I often see this mistake on the internet, that agarwood (oud) is NOT guaiac wood. Guaiac wood comes from South America and is more commonly known as palo santo, which is part of the fragrant botanical family that includes frankincense, copal and myrrh. Oud is not part of the family. Consequently, oud smells very different from those other trees.
One should be careful, when reviewing perfumes, that they are speaking of the correct wood. I come across reviews with complaints like, "Hey, there's no oud in here!" when the note pyramid lists guaiac, or "The oud in this perfume is so smooth and mellow," which makes me giggle because the fragrance doesn't contain oud whatsoever, it contains palo santo.
When agarwood is infected with a particular mold, it creates the beautifully scented resins we are (now becoming) familiar with in oud fragrances. Regarding frankincense, myrrh and palo santo, the wood and resins smell wonderful. No mold infection required.
It seems like oud is to the Middle East as patchouli is to Western hippies. Both scents generate strong love/hate opinions! Some people are totally fine with smearing pure patch oil all over them (or the "dreaded patch" as many people, including myself, refer to it!). Both notes can be an acquired taste. Both of them can be likable in the perfect dose or in a blend that is "just right" for an individual's particular taste. Both of them vary in scent profile and quality, just like, in subtle ways, no two strawberries will ever taste identical.
Just because oud has caught on in the West, and seems to appear everywhere now from designer "noir" perfumes as well as the full gamut of niches, doesn't mean that we all swoon over it. Personally, I like my oud the way I like my patch: mild.
I often read opinions about popular, palatable, oud-centric perfumes, such as Montale or Tom Ford fragrances, like, "This is an oud for Westerners." Is that true? So just because a person is Middle Eastern it means he or she wholeheartedly loves oud at full throttle? I kinda doubt it. Talk about generalizations and stereotypes. And if a Middle Eastern woman prefer perfumes with very soft or nearly imperceptible oud (or, Heaven forbid, no oud at all!), she has sub-par Western taste? I sincerely hope not.
I especially love reading proclamations such as, "I have worn 100% real oud from the Middle East, I know what oud smells like!" as though only the most pure oud is the only kind worth enjoying. When I really think about it, I am not sure I see more snobby and judgmental comments than I do when I encounter opinions for perfumes containing oud.
Well anyway, I was just scribbling down some thoughts on oud as they came up. As always, I'd love any feedback, experiences, comments, or naming your own faves!
It's been a loooooong time since I cared to wear a chocolate-heavy perfume. I do like chocolate in some perfumes (notably 1969 by Histoires de Parfums), but usually when it gets to be the dominant note, it goes south for me.
Enter Chocolate Man by DAME Perfumery. I have said it before and I will say it again: Jeffrey Dame can seemingly do no wrong in my eyes. I mean, COME ON, Jeffrey! Is there anything you create that I don't love or at least appreciate for its scent perfection?! Just when I thought I'd decided on a bottle of Black Flower Mexican Vanilla, I smelled Chocolate Man, and I'm all messed up inside over which one I want more. I do buy bottles of perfume, but for goodness sake, I can not afford them all! DAME Perfumery causes all kinds of first-world problems for me, LOL.
Chocolate Man is Mexican hot chocolate so good it makes me consider licking my arm. It's a perfectly balanced blend of rich drinking chocolate with freshly grated, woody cinnamon bark and a pinch of red-hot chili powder. The longer it remains on my skin the creamier it becomes without compromising that gorgeous blend of spices.
Another thing I notice about Chocolate Man is that it is decidedly boozy, almost like someone added Godiva chocolate liqueur AND buttered rum to my Mexican hot cocoa. Can it possibly get more decadent than this?! Nope.
Remember that scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where some kid cracks open a pumpkin and reaches in to find molten chocolate, and he just shoves his chocolate-covered hand into his mouth like an absolute pig? Chocolate Man smells sinful--the deadly sin of gluttony, for sure.
Chocolate confection perfection.
[Jeffrey, thank you so very kindly for the sample. And to my readers, please know that this is my completely honest opinion of the perfume. It is phenomenal and highly recommended to try if you enjoy wearing chocolate]
My review is for the oil.
This musk is for those who are seeking straight-up animalic musk with nothing else. That's all I smell from beginning to end. It is completely linear. No flowers, no balsams, no vanilla, no frills. The price is quite good for such a musk.
Words that come to mind: Feral and ripe--as in "ripe armpit." I try to keep it classy, so I hate to say this, I really, really do, but it makes me think of an ass crack. I just picture those times on the bus, in the park or wherever, when I have encountered a man who is really out of shape, looks unkempt, sitting down, and everyone walking by can see the top of his butt sticking out of his saggy pants.
I would group this musk into the super naughty category, right in there with its buddies Muscs Koublai Khan (more floral) and L'Air de Rien (sweeter). I'm also reminded of Coty's Wild Musk, which is also fairly straightforward in its current incarnation, but Kiehl's doesnt have the honey-like sweetness of Wild Musk.
I think this stuff is absolutely brilliant. Awesome perfume. It will smell fantastic on the right person. I personally could not get comfortable wearing it in public. I need the vanilla, the rose or whatever else to be able to pull off something like this, but if this works on you, enjoy it!
I wore this in fairly warm weather today (80F), and it was quite enjoyable and not cloying at all. It started out with tangy citrus-like fruit combined with vanilla. At no point did I feel I was wearing apple or pear as the notes suggest. I could smell some white florals in the heart, seemed like jasmine possibly mixed with gardenia. A few hours later what was left behind was a surprisingly musky base.
I tend to like Juicy's perfumes. My favorite will always be Viva la Juicy, but I do like this. One spray on each wrist lasted several hours. I had no problem with sillage nor longevity. Like I said, not my favorite, but nice for summer.
Description from Target.com:
She's the Hollywood It Girl, who surfs the waves by day and walks the red carpet at night. This flirty Hollywood Royal by Juicy Couture fragrance lets you feel effortlessly glamorous and cool with divine notes of jasmine and gardenia.
Au Pays de la Fleur d'Oranger recently released a new collection entitled Collection Capsule. The collection contains two unisex perfumes of gorgeous quality--Liberté Bohème and Poudre de Liberté.
I just had to mention, before I get on with the reviews, that what I love about this house is that nothing they create smells like chemicals. That is not to say that they don't contain synthetics. I don't know for sure. The bottom line is that their fragrances evoke a sense of naturalness that I personally find very addictive. After falling hopelessly in love with Violette Sacré, I was excited to have an opportunity to try the new duo.
Liberté Bohème is a vibrant, green floral that is on the sweeter side. This perfume seriously makes me nostalgic for some of my oldest childhood memories. I grew up mostly in the city, but there was a brief couple of years when we lived in the suburbs. We had scorching hot summers but we had shaded green lawns, a deck in the back, a flowering magnolia tree in front, and lots of space to run around and play. I swear that Liberté Bohème is the exact scent of the front lawn while my dad mowed it. I can hear the sound of the lawn mower so clearly when I smell this, and I can see and smell the piles of freshly cut grass scattered all over for my dad to rake up. So it evokes childhood memories from a time when I would describe my life and my spirit as feeling totally free; unencumbered by life's responsibilities; not yet jaded by perceived failures nor broken hearts.
I hate to compare Liberté Bohème to another perfume, but I want to give a reference point, as it is not the type of green that I encounter often. I feel that Hermes' Un Jardin Sur le Toit (my favorite of the Jardin series) is the perfume that comes closest to Liberté Bohème. Both perfumes have sweet pink roses in common, my absolute favorite type of rose scent. Both perfumes are green, but Liberté Bohème seems strictly green, while Un Jardin Sur le Toit smells like a combination of fruit, roses, and tangy citrus along with the fresh green notes. As a matter of personal preference, I prefer Liberté Bohème.
Sillage is not huge, not cloying, so it's really clean and fresh for warmer weather. I get about 5 hours of wear before I feel an urge to touch-up. I honestly don't notice much musk nor woods. The perfume wears quite linear on me, but considering the fact that I really like the fragrance from the get-go, I am very glad it does not mutate into anything other than the scent of my carefree childhood.
As I mentioned, Liberté Bohème is truly green. Roses do not overpower nor dominate as I feared they would. There is no sharp hyacinth, narcissus nor lily-of-the-valley to give the perfume a false sense of greenness and tip the balance towards floral. It seems as though all of the "green" perfumes I encounter these days include one of those (potentially and frequently) sharp, screechy floral notes. It is not an evergreen fragrance, either. Liberté Bohème's beauty lies within its ability to remain simply GREEN. I think it's absolutely beautiful, quite possibly the perfect, simple, green perfume. Since it smells so natural, men and women can wear with confidence.
Poudre de Liberté sure has a spicy personality! I would put it into the category of spicy orientals like Coco EDT (not syrupy nor cloying enough to compare to the EDP). It is heavy on cinnamon, so if cinnamon is something you really enjoy, you will love it. The cinnamon smells so natural, just like when I open my giant jar of cinnamon sticks to use when I am cooking Indian food. I can never resist sticking my nose close to the mouth of the jar and inhaling the scent.
Spicy perfumes of this type are ones I have always thought of as perfumes worn by assertive, successful women who know exactly how to wield their personal power. Poudre de Liberté takes me back to my childhood. It brings to mind my aunt, the CFO at her company, awfully successful for a single woman in the 1980's. She was someone I admired as a strong female figure. A ballsy, no-nonsense, financially independent woman. Her favorite perfume for some time was Opium. So I don't know if it's just me who maintains this association between spicy, oriental fragrances and strong women.
The element I really adore about this perfume is that I distinctly smell candy--clear, sugary, hard candy. A lot like my memory of rock candy. The perfume on the whole reminds me very much of candied apples. When I was little, I always chose caramel apples over candied apples, but during the precious few times I ate a candied apple, I noticed the coating had a cinnamon flavor infused in it. And this is what makes the perfume smell especially free. I imagine a woman who lives each day with authority over her life, and then you add the aspect of childhood, which is truly (or should be) a carefree time in a person's life. Poudre de Liberté goes in a totally different direction than other spicy perfumes of its kind...because it just doesn't take itself too seriously! It's like a confident woman who can still allow her inner-child to come out and play. This is an amazingly fun, creative twist on a classic theme!
All this talk of cinnamon and no talk of powder yet. Well, a few hours into wearing it, the cinnamon nearly disappears, leaving behind a light powdery scent. And I mean light. This is not a powder keg by any means, so don't buy it expecting What We Do in Paris is Secret or Teint de Neige. It's a surprisingly timid drydown for a perfume that packed such a spicy punch, but I really like the bit of sweet powder in the end.
So again, you have two starkly different ideas here, but I can really feel and understand the message of freedom that they are trying to convey. One perfume reflects freedom in the outside world and the other reflects freedom within oneself. And I have no idea if that was the intention or if my perceptions are the least bit accurate. In any case, I was amazed at how both perfumes evoked vivid memories of my childhood. I enjoyed being in my own mind, living in those memories for a little while. Great perfumes!
WHERE TO BUY:
These limited edition perfumes are available at Beauty Frontier, where you can purchase samples or full bottles (and what pretty bottles!).
©2016, Elizabeth Ready, All rights reserved